Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 52 vs. the Cavaliers

Celtics (38-13) vs. Cleveland (23-31)
January 30, 1980
Boston Garden

Bill Fitch must have been happy to be coaching on the home bench for this one.

The Celtics returned to the Boston Garden to defeat the Cavs in their final home game before the All Star break.  After defeating the Bulls the night before, the Celtics traveled back home win and outscored Cleveland, 110-103.  The win marked the 39th victory of the season, which was already ten more than Boston compiled the entire prior season.

Larry Bird and Cedric Maxwell each led the way with 21 points, and Bird added 15 rebounds.  As the Green still waited for Dave Cowens’ injured foot to heal, Rick Robey added 16 and 11, and the Celtics continued to move the ball extremely well.  The starting five dished out 18 assists, and the C’s used a big fourth quarter to close out Fitch’s former club.

The Globe’s Bob Ryan captured the spirit of a game that did not please 12,126 in attendance:

Though both sides complained about the calls, and though Rooney hit Cleveland coach Stan Albeck with a technical for saying “C’mon, Wally,” the refereeing evened out. It was just one of those January nights in which you had a team flying back from Chicago on the one side and a team that had gone through a four-overtime game the night before on the other. A 50-percent discount for the fans who paid to see this yawner would have been proper.

Bird shot just 2-for-11 in the first half, but finished 7-for-13 in the second half while contributing a sequence of 13 straight points in the third quarter.  Gerald Henderson continued to excel, scoring 14 points off the bench in 17 minutes.

The Celtics met up with the Bullets on Wednesday to cap off the first half of the 1979-80 NBA season.

 

1_30_80

About Justin Barrasso

Justin Barrasso has worked in the Boston sports scene in various different capacities since 2001, including writing for the Boston Herald and WEEI.com.

%d bloggers like this: